Virgil van Dijk reacts to report on why Liverpool star Cody Gakpo withdrew from Netherlands squad
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Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has partially dismissed a report that a 'chicken curry' was the reason behind Cody Gakpo's withdrawal from the Netherlands squad.
Gakpo was one of five players to pull out of the squad with a viral infection on Thursday morning. Newcastle's Sven Botman and Bayern Munich's Matthijs de Ligt were among the other players affected.
Gakpo's withdrawal will surely have sparked concern among Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and his medical staff, with the Dutch international beginning to show his full potential in a centre forward role at Anfield.
He netted a brace in the 7-0 win over Manchester United at Anfield earlier this month, and earned the player of the match award.
But he will not feature in Netherlands' upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against France and Gibraltar, their first fixtures under the new management of Ronald Koeman.
Speaking prior to the game, Van Dijk has - at this stage, at least - quashed one rumour behind why the players withdrew.
Van Dijk dismisses Gakpo claim
De Telegraaf journalist Mike Verweij claimed that members of the Dutch contingent are 'convinced' that a 'chicken curry' served in the team hotel was the reason behind Gakpo and a number of team-mates being forced to withdraw.
But speaking to Dutch outlet NOS on Thursday, Van Dijk stated he didn't know where that story had come from - and that the cause of the viral infection had not yet been learned.
He explained: "I don't know where that story comes from. I also ate chicken curry myself and it was delicious.
"Whether that is the cause? No idea. No-one has an idea. I can't imagine. It was very strange.
"In our group app, messages suddenly came through that some boys were going home, that they were ill. That was a bit of a shock."
Liverpool will hope that Gakpo recovers in time for their next Premier League fixtures. They take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on April 1.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy / Broer van den Boom/Orange Pictures / ANP MAURICE VAN STONE
Topics: Liverpool, Cody Gakpo, Virgil Van Dijk, Netherlands, Premier League